Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday Greetings and Reflections on 2011

We hope you are enjoying the Christmas Season with an attitude of celebration over God’s Greatest Gift, Jesus Christ.  As we remember the events of 2011, we hope you agree that we all have much to be thankful for in the midst of a year of unusual weather, political unrest, economic uncertainty, and trials faced by family and friends.  But in spite of these, we can rest in the faithfulness of Jesus Who is our Reason for hope as we look toward the New Year; for He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
Steve, Mindy, John, Della, Alvadell ("Abby"), Brad, Raquel
Just one year ago, we decided that John would retire after 32 years as a biology professor at Cedarville University.  Careful thought and prayer had helped us to identify several priorities that led us to say “good-bye” to an era of blessed opportunity to serve with the best colleagues and students in the world.  Our new priorities are as follows:

Partners – allowing more time for each other while our health is still good

Parents with health needs;Abby’s mom in Carroll Co. and Mom Silvius in Tuscarawas Co.  We plan to move to Wooster, Ohio when our Cedarville home sells.

Progeny -- more time with our son, daughter, their spouses, and grandchildren; and time to keep in touch with colleagues and students who have become our friends.

Professing our faith through serving in our local church; working on land restoration (caring for creation with “earth-keepers” whose souls may not be restored); working toward an integrated theology of "creationism" as relates to “origins” and “creation care”

Having set these priorities, we are now learning the truth of 1 Thessalonians 5:24, Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.  For example, only 16 days after the beginning of John’s retirement, or better, redirection, in August, one of our parents, Abby’s mother Marietta Moser, suffered a stroke that left her unable to use her left side.  Since then, we have been working as partners committed to assisting Abby’s six sisters in a rotation that has allowed us to be with "Mom Moser" in her recovery 24/7, first at Mercy Medical Center in Canton, then at Carroll Health Center in Carrollton, and now at her home in Kilgore.  Though it is challenging, we count it a privilege to serve “mom” and to encourage her in her faith at this time of need.

Kiara, Alvadell (Abby), Della, John, and Caleb
We have also enjoyed special times at the homes of our progeny this year.  Our son Brad is thankful for another year as Branch Manager with John Adams Mortgage Co. in Michigan. His Little Leaders DVD’s for children, available online, continue to provide a biblical, educational medium for young children.  His wife Raquel attained US citizenship this year and enjoys her creative work as Administrative Specialist at the University of Michigan.   Steve is finishing his eighth year as pastor at Northpoint Nazarene in Toledo.  The church is blessed to have the teaching and caring ministry of both Steve and Mindy in their midst.  Mindy has many full days as a pastor’s wife, mother of three, and nurse supervisor at Flower Hospital.  Our grandson Caleb (13, has found a good network of friends at church and at Stateline Christian School where he plays soccer and basketball.  His sister Kiara (9) is in the fourth grade at Mason Elementary, and is also athletic and enjoys her sister, Della Rose (3), who is learning how not to be the center of attention in the family.

We do not intend to retire from our profession of faith and practice which we hope will fit in well with our other priorities.  For example, while our redirection has allowed more time to encourage our progeny, their spouses and the grandchildren, it has also allowed us to expand our caring ministry to long-time friends and those in need at our church, Grace Baptist. 

East Liberty Street in downtown Wooster
Recently, after being with "Mom Moser" for nine days, we spent some time in Wooster and were encouraged when God allowed us to meet Ron and Ethel in a Wendy’s restaurant.   Ron is a long-time bluebird enthusiast, and has enjoyed exercising his faith among folks interested in land conservation in ways that John envisions for his future.  We were both encouraged that one of our first acquaintances in Wooster shares an interest in “creation stewardship.”

Thank you for reading this account of our transition to a new chapter of life under God’s gracious provision.  We apologize for not sending cards this year.  To those of you who have sent cards, we are looking forward to reading them now that we are home again.  We hope the message of God’s grace (unearned favor) and truth this Christmas will encourage you in the midst of uncertain times.   Like the Pawpaw tree given to John by his students last spring, which we have kept potted and ready to move, we are waiting to be "transplanted" by the divine Gardener to the location He has for us.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  – Isaiah 9:6

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